Ralph A. Beard 1947-2022

EVANS, Ga. — Ralph Beard peacefully passed on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in the loving presence of his wife, Toni, and daughter, Alexis Koval, under exceptional hospice care at his home. The quiet play of his beloved grandchildren, Lily and Jake, the aroma of their freshly baked cookies, and soft music accompanied him on his final journey. We are certain that his cherished son, Luke, who preceded him by nine months, met him with open arms.

Ralph was born on the North Side of Youngstown on Aug. 30, 1947, to Attorney Ralph A. Beard Jr. and Lenore Chambers. His early life was rich in academic and literary influences. The seed fell on rich soil.

Ralph was intellectually brilliant, curious and logical. His depth of knowledge far surpassed the norm. He relished the company of other audiophiles, computer ” geeks” and those who enjoyed complex discussions. He was especially fond of a monthly foreign policy group, “Great Decisions.” An extrovert by nature, he cherished sociable evenings with friends and always enjoyed a party.

Ralph pursued the law in the footsteps of his grandfather, Common Pleas Court Judge Ralph A. Beard Sr., his father and his uncle. He graduated from OSU College of Law with distinction. He began his career in Youngstown as a trust officer and later partner in the law firm of Harrington, Huxley and Smith. He was elected to several terms as managing partner and was involved in the firm’s merger with Harrington, Hoppe and Mitchell. His vision for a legal practice was inclusive, collegial and future focused. Very early, he innovated and installed computerization to the firm.

Ralph’s expertise was estate planning. A graduate of the National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University, he was widely recognized for complicated estate planning. Ralph was a fierce and loyal advocate to his clients. His legal prowess remains imprinted on the community through advisement to the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County during its expansion projects; development gifts for the Williamson College of Business; what would become the Stewart Media Archive Center; and the Butler Institute of American Art.

Ralph was an avid bridge player until a heart attack in 2015 curtailed tournament travels. He remained a gamesman through backgammon with close friends.

Following retirement, he became an OSU Master Gardener volunteer. He enjoyed most days outdoors planting and rearranging garden beds, including a heart-shaped rose garden and trellis in Toni’s honor.

Through their 50-year partnership, Ralph championed his wife, Toni (nee Lucarelli) and their children. Fond memories remain of boating days and bonfire evenings at Lake Milton.

He remained stoic during his illnesses. He “soldiered through.” Ralph’s love lives on.

A memorial luncheon will be held at A La Cart Catering, Canfield, on Friday, June 10, 2022. The family will greet from 11 a.m. to noon. The Rev. Dr. George Lee will offer prayers and reflection preceding the lunch. The Beards warmly welcome friends and family to share in this celebration of Ralph and his extraordinary spirit.

(special notice)